It is important for pediatricians to show parents how to recognize added sugars in their children’s diet and stress the importance of limiting them. New and improved food labels could facilitate this kind of nutrition counseling. In May 2016, the FDA issued a rule changing what needed to be included in nutrition food labels. Originally, companies were expected to be in compliance by July 2018, just last month.1 However, many groups rallied against the new food labels, including the Sugar Association, the American Beverage Association, the Corn Refiners Association, and the American Bakers Association, to name a few.2 One part of the nutrition label that was criticized by these groups was a new section underneath “Total Carbohydrates.” This section will inform consumers about the quantity of added sugars in each product. However, the deadline has now been pushed back until January 2020 for food companies with revenue greater than 10 million dollars in food sales and until January 2021 for those with revenue less than 10 million dollars in food sales. Many of the public comments under the bill proposing the new food label came from industry groups who pointed to a lack of scientific research demonstrating intrinsically harmful effects of sugar.3 (more…)
In a previous post on June 23, 2014, Dr. Michelle Ting highlighted H.R. 4800 (Sec. 739), the U.S. House bill concerning the Agriculture Department’s 2015 FY budget. Dr. Ting explained that the bill threatens to weaken federal child nutrition programs by creating a waiver from compliance with current nutrition requirements for schools that are able to demonstrate a net loss, for at least six months, from operating a food service program. With many children receiving as much as 50% of their daily caloric intake from meals at school, school nutrition standards play a large role in reducing the rate of pediatric obesity. (more…)
For decades, Congress has wisely ensured that federal child nutrition programs be guided by scientific recommendations from the Instutite of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), which the AAP supported, the USDA strengthened nutrition standards for school meals, based on recommendations by the IOM. These updated lunch standards have been in place for two years, and include provisions such as insuring more fruits and vegetables in school children’s lunches. 93% of lunches currently served meet these improved nutrition standards. As children receive up to 50% of their calories at school, it is critical that school meals are healthy, balanced and age appropriate. (more…)
In a previous update on November 11, 2013, Dolly Sevier brought to our attention the tentative determination by the FDA that our primary dietary source of trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), are no longer generally recognized as safe (GRAS), with the ultimate plan to mandate the removal of PHOs from all food products. In the announcement, the FDA made a call for public comment on this determination. (more…)
A proposed reduction of 8.6 million dollars in the budget for The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps, has already been approved in the House and is moving on to the Senate. See quote below from the AAP president Dr. James Perrin.
“Pediatricians witness the effects of childhood hunger firsthand: hungry children are less likely to be healthy and are more likely to suffer developmental delays, have behavioral problems and have difficulties focusing in school. At a time when more than one in five U.S. children lives in poverty, the Farm Bill’s cuts to this program exacerbate the effects of child hunger and disproportionately hurt children. In fact, 850,000 households across the country will now receive $90 less of SNAP benefits each month. To a family already living in poverty, these cuts will mean fewer meals and contribute to more anxiety about where the next meal will come from. No child should be hungry in this country. Parents should not be left wondering how to feed their families at the end of each month.”
– James Perrin, MD, FAAP
– See more at AAP Federal Policy
– Learn about ways to help Dallas families dealing with food insecurity at The North Texas Food Bank
By Katie Maddox, MD
On the Federal Register this week the FDA has announced that they have tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils – the primary dietary source of trans fats – are not generally recognized as safe. Were they to make this determination final, partially hydrogenated oils would not longer be able to be sold as ingredients in foods. The FDA is requesting comments and scientific data through January 7.
Read more from the FDA, from the New York Times, and from a lady who seems like she knows what she’s talking about.
by Dolly Lucio Sevier, MD